Johnny Falls, Saint Mary

There’s this waterfall hidden in Palmetto Grove, St. Mary called Johnny Falls which I heard of years ago on Facebook. There were no directions on how to find it anywhere, so I added it to my list of Jamaican waterfalls to visit and moved on. Last year my interest in visiting Johnny Falls piqued again with Grove Swimmers, a fearless group of youngsters who perform admirable dives into the river which runs through their district, headed by 17-year-old Nathan Douglas. They have taken to Instagram and YouTube to showcase their talent, and have even been featured in national newspapers. Grove Swimmers conduct informal tours to Johnny Falls and will not only showcase their amazing talent for visitors, but also coach them on how to safely get the adrenaline rush of jumping into the river from dizzying heights. Thus, I happily tagged along with a group of avid explorers and friends so I could cross this enigmatic and twenty-second Jamaican waterfall from my list.

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Kwame Falls, Saint Mary

Kwame Falls is an off-the-beaten-path waterfall near the rural district of Robin’s Bay in Saint Mary. It is said that the falls are named for Kwame, one of the warriors who fought alongside Tacky in 1760, the most successful rebellion against enslavement in Jamaica before that of Rt. Excellent Samuel Sharpe 71 years later. It is significant that the fall named for Kwame is much smaller and less powerful than Tacky Falls, also in St. Mary, as Tacky was a more courageous and fiercer leader than he.

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James Bond Beach, Saint Mary

I’ve never read nor watched a James Bond book or movie but living in Jamaica, the character is familiar because of locations like this beach immortalizing his name. James Bond Beach is found along Jamaica’s northeastern coast in the quaint scenic town of Oracabessa, St. Mary. This beach is part of the late Ian Flemming’s estate, writer of 007. He lived nearby in Goldeneye, now an exclusive luxury resort, so James Bond Beach was one of his frequented swimming spots. The beach keeps its affiliation to Flemming and his series rather low-key but for true fans, swimming where your idol once did should be thrilling enough.

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Tacky Falls, Saint Mary

Life is quite unpredictable and I’m learning to roll with the punches more each day. Earlier this year I’d set out to visit this waterfall’s smaller cousin, Kwame Falls, but the public transport in Kingston decided against that plan. Thus, I was most excited when a high schoolmate of mine who is now studying abroad came out for Christmas and organized a few trips to discover more of Jamaica, perhaps inspired by his own overseas adventures or this blog šŸ˜…. Tacky Falls in Islington, St. Mary was on his itinerary and that’s how it came about that I visited the harder-to-find St. Mary waterfall first.

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Castleton Botanical Gardens, Saint Mary

The Castleton Botanical Gardens sit in a river valley on both sides of the Junction main road which links the Saint Andrew and Saint Mary parishes. It is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the western hemisphere, established in 1862 by English planter Colonel Castle on what was once a sugar plantation.

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